When you think about Korea, usually people think about the Hallyu, sometimes some will think of the food but a few person know about the korean alcohol ! Koreans have so many traditions and etiquette linked to alcohol. Before pouring any drinks and being impolite, you should learn some of those rules ! For example, you should always serve and get served using your two hands.
Today, we will go through 5 of the must try korean alcohol that you should definitely try when you visit !
#1. SOJU, THE ONE
If there is one drink you should not miss, it’s soju ! Soju can be find not only in Korea but all around the world mainly served in korean restaurant as this alcohol is easy to export. This alcohol can be paired with many different korean dishes like korean BBQ, kimchi jjigae etc. But be careful soju contains between 19% to 25% alcohol. That’s why usually, you should filled a little less than the top of the glass (shooter). This alcohol is clear but unless vodka, gin etc it’s much more sweet.
If you feel like soju is too strong for your taste then you can get flavored soju. There is many flavors to choose from : grapefruit, blueberry, grape, apple etc. Those fruity soju are much more sweet and easy to drink.
#2. MAKGEOLLI, RICE ALCOHOL
Makgeolli is one of the oldest korean alcohol created. But it did not lose its fame. Nowadays mainly older people are drinking it, but there is still some trendy bars that gave him back his glory to the younger ! This sweet rice wine is a little bit carbonated to give him a little fizzy taste. To make it trendy again some bars are mixing it with fruit juice but you can also buy it directly with flavors. For example, if you are visiting Jeju Island, we highly recommend you to try the peanut makgeolli and the hallabong (korean style orange) makgeolli.
Also please before serving give it a good shake, as by staying still some residues stay at the bottom. Also unlike soju this alcohol is almost impossible to export so do try it in Korea as it can be your only chance to try it !
Korean Tips: the best time to enjoy drinking makgeolli is on a rainy day while eating pajeon (salty pancake).
#3. MAEKJU, THE SOFT BEER
You will tell me that you can drink anywhere in the world so there’s nothing exciting there but ! Have you ever tried Korean Beer ? Since the 30’s, Korea is brewing her own beer and there is now a few different to try. The 3 main korean brewery are Hite, Cass, and Oriental Brewery but there is new brewery opening often. For example you can find now Jeju Beers too (super delicious). Usually no matter your choice of beer, they have mainly a light taste.
If you do not enjoy something too light, then try one of the most famous korean cocktail “Somaek” (so = soju and maek = maekju). In a beer glass, add a shot of soju and mix it well before drinking !
Korean Tips: to enjoy fully your beer time, drink it while having korean fried chicken to do “chimaek” (chi = chicken and maek = maekju).
#4. BOKBUNJA, BLACKBERRY WINE
Bokbunja is a wine made of blackberries instead of grape ! But be careful, this wine is much stronger than grape wine as it’s usually contains from 15% to 19% alcohol. Its sweetness goes perfectly with korean seafood dishes.
Korean Tips: This alcohol is well known by koreans to increase the men testosterone making it a sweet aphrodisiac perfect to drink during a date.
#5. BAEKSEJU, THE STRONG SOJU
Baekseju is another really old alcohol. This alcohol ensure you a very fun night out. It’s not sweet like soju and it’s a bit stronger. If you find it too strong you can cut it with some soju to give back some sweetness. In general, its strong taste pairs perfectly with meat based meals. Also this alcohol is more expensive than the one mentioned earlier but it’s because it’s need more fermentation time.
Maybe we made you feel a bit thirsty now ! You can find all of those alcohol in different restaurant, bar and pocha all around Korea. You can also purchase them in any market. Please if you try them share with us your favorite one !
Also we do not promote heavy drinking so please drink responsibly. Do not try all of them in one night, we are afraid you might get an heavy headache on the next morning.